Foundation series

This is Science Fiction at its best. I read the Foundation Trilogy back in the sixties. It is quite a treat to read the whole series once again. There are many things to be learned from it.

[From Wikipedia: Foundation series]

The Foundation Series is a science fiction series by Isaac Asimov. There are seven volumes in the Foundation Series proper, which in its in-universe chronological order are Prelude to FoundationForward the FoundationFoundationFoundation and EmpireSecond FoundationFoundation’s Edge, and Foundation and Earth.

The premise of the series is that mathematician Hari Seldon spent his life developing a branch of mathematics known aspsychohistory, a concept of mathematical sociology (analogous to mathematical physics). Using the laws of mass action, it can predict the future, but only on a large scale; it is error-prone on a small scale. It works on the principle that the behaviour of a mass of people is predictable if the quantity of this mass is very large (equal to the population of the galaxy, which has a population of quadrillions of humans, inhabiting millions of star systems). The larger the number, the more predictable is the future.

Using these techniques, Seldon foresees the imminent fall of the Galactic Empire, which encompasses the entire Milky Way, and a dark age lasting thirty thousand years before a second great empire arises. Seldon’s psychohistory also foresees an alternative where the intermittent period will last only one thousand years. To ensure his vision of a second great Empire comes to fruition, Seldon creates two Foundations—small, secluded havens of all human knowledge—at “opposite ends of the galaxy”.

The focus of the series is on the First Foundation and its attempts to overcome various obstacles during the formation and installation of the Second Empire, all the while being silently guided by the unknown specifics of The Seldon Plan.

The series is best known for the Foundation Trilogy, which comprises the books FoundationFoundation and Empire, and Second Foundation. While the term “Foundation Series” can be used specifically for the seven Foundation books, it can also be used more generally to include the Robot series and Empire series, which are set in the same fictional universe, but in earlier time periods. If all works are included, in total, there are fifteen novels and dozens of short stories written by Asimov, and six novels written by other authors after his death, expanding the time spanned in the original trilogy (roughly 550 years) by more than twenty thousand years. The series is highly acclaimed, winning the one-time Hugo Award for “Best All-Time Series” in 1966.

Isaac Asimov   1920 – 1992

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